Crowds head to beaches despite the patchy summer

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014
lifesaver
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
BEACH BLAST: The wind and cold hadn’t put people off swimming this summer, said Lifesaving New Zealand club development officer Andy Cronin.

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Life has not been a beach so far this summer, but despite the cold weather the people of Taranaki still enjoy getting their feet wet.

Lifesaving New Zealand club development officer Andy Cronin said Taranaki people were tough nuts who didn't mind getting in the water if it was a bit cold, a bit rainy, or blowing a gale.

"We've still been steady. Even though the weather has been average there's still a number of people using the beach," he said.

Indeed, yesterday at New Plymouth's East End beach there were about five swimmers and a handful of kayakers, despite the gusty wind.

Though his team had not been as busy as last summer, he said it hadn't been quiet either.

The self described eternal optimist said he thought the weather was on the improve.

He said in general this summer, people had been well behaved and had stuck to the rules that were put in place to keep them safe.

"Parents need to actively supervise their kids at the beach, watching them from the water's edge," said Mr Cronin.

Beach users needed to follow the water safety code by being prepared, watching out for themselves and others, being aware of dangers and knowing their limits, he said.

He said the three patrolled beaches in the New Plymouth district - Fitzroy, East End and Oakura, would be looked after by paid lifeguards in the afternoons on weekdays, to tie in with after school hours until February 7.

At weekends, volunteer lifeguards would continue to patrol the beaches until Taranaki Anniversary at the end of March.

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